The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states have reaffirmed their decarbonisation commitments, and currently, nine out of 10 governments have pledged to achieve net zero targets by 2050. The reason behind this could be that by 2050, the economic and demographic expansion in Southeast Asia will cause a roughly 2.5-fold rise in energy demand and the amount of CO2 emissions associated with energy would double along with this growth.
Since achieving these goals depends heavily on a successful transition to renewable energy sources, IRENA has been working with the ASEAN members to map out a course for such a transition.
Recently, IRENA released the second edition of the ‘Renewable Energy Outlook for ASEAN: Towards a Regional Energy Transition, and the Indonesia Energy Transition Outlook’.
Aimed at presenting findings from these reports as well as early insights from the upcoming Malaysia Energy Transition Outlook, IRENA and the Danish government organised an event titled, “Renewable Energy Transitions in the ASEAN Region” at COP27.
Roland Roesch, Acting Director, Innovation and Technology Centre, IRENA, stated that the reports will greatly assist ASEAN countries in meeting their net zero goals. “ASEAN members still depend heavily on fossil fuels, accounting for around 85 per cent of primary energy demand in 2021. IRENA’s 1.5-Scenario will see a big push towards electrification, renewables, and energy efficiency. The renewable share can approach two-thirds of energy consumption,” he added.
Danish Climate Ambassador Tomas Anker Christensen stressed the need to discuss solutions as well as the necessity of establishing the legal and policy frameworks needed to bring about the energy transition. Emphasising Denmark’s own efforts to move toward energy transition, he said, “We bring this experience to help our ASEAN allies.”
Highlighting the Malaysian government’s commitment to addressing climate change, Dato’ Mohamad Razif bin Abd Mubin, Deputy Secretary General for Energy, Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, Malaysia, said his government is focused on the energy sector and is working towards building interconnectedness with neighbours.
Scaling up the adoption of renewables can be challenging for ASEAN nations, according to Daniel Gaspar, Deputy Director of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, but technology can pave the way and benefit all parties in the long run.
The Danish Energy Agency’s Ulrik Eversbusch, Director of Global Cooperation, emphasised the value of derisking, long-term planning, and the necessity for investor trust.